DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Bioplastics maker Meredian is aiming to ramp up production of its PHA bioresin to 60 million pounds once its U.S. plant in Georgia goes into full production next year.
"We started production this month," said Chairman Paul Pereira. "We are only producing small volumes for now but in December we'll go up to the 5,000-10,000 pound levels and then 5 [million]-10 million pounds in the second quarter of 2014."
The company is committed to doubling capacity shortly after, he added.
The Meredian PHA is derived through fermentation of renewable plant oils, such as canola.
"Microorganisms feed on oil then store it as fatty cells in their body," President S. Blake Lindsey explained. "We then go on and suck the fatty cells out to make the bio degradable polymer."
The process does not interfere with food supplies because the company has its own GMO-free canola seed. And the PHA can be made using but a variety of other oils, even used cooking oil.
"We don't use sugars," said Lindsey.
The PHA is used for a broad area of applications and Meredian's customers, which Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. and a German chemical giant, use the polymer to make single-use items such as diapers wipes and cutlery.
The material is truly degradable because the same bacteria that helped make it cause it to degrade once the item is thrown away. It even degrades in marine waters or septic tanks, said Lindsey.
Meredian is part of Meredian Inc., which also owns Danimer Scientific LLC.
Danimer bought the PHA technology used by Meredian from consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co. in 2007.